Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: REFLECTION (10/10/19)
- TITLE: Seeing Myself
By Jack Taylor
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When I peered tentatively through my eyelashes, a darting arrow of sparrows flitted across the bow of my ship - up and around in a flurry of feathers. The water lay still, flat and dark as settled tarmac. Only the dazzling reflection interrupted the tranquility.
â€œYouâ€™re rather naÃ¯ve, you know?â€ She twists the ruby ring on her finger â€“ my motherâ€™s.
My twin sister has always been the skeptic in the family â€“ Iâ€™m the dreamer. A squadron of sparrows could be message writers in the sky sent to instruct me. I heard that the ancients took such signs seriously and Iâ€™m not in such a hurry to miss reflecting on that possibility. I donâ€™t even have to say a word and she already knows Iâ€™m lost somewhere in my head looking for significance.
â€œIâ€™m ready to get back to shore but go ahead and tell me what you think this is all about.â€
Sheâ€™s relaxed in the stern, hand trailing in the gentle wake of our sailboat. Her head covering has been discarded and her long auburn curls tumble across her shoulders and down her chest. The white T-shirt is soaked â€“ the price of not paying attention to the forecast before we launched. The thin blanket across her legs covers her shorts and bare feet. Her impulsiveness never has left room for reflection.
Iâ€™m not a prophet but sheâ€™s offered me a pulpit. â€œWhen I see the hills, I see Godâ€™s strength and majesty. When I see the flowers, I see his intimacy and design. When I see you, I see purpose and beauty.â€
She shifts the blanket aside, revealing a twisted foot â€“ purpled and wrinkled in the rain. â€œAnd this?â€ she asks. â€œWhat does this tell you about who God is and what he is doing?â€
I kneel down before her as the craft sways and pick up her foot in my hands. She hesitates, pulls, and then watches me kneading her twisted limb. â€œThis tells me that God hasnâ€™t finished with us yet.â€ I look into those deep chocolate eyes. â€œWe live in a world that is far from perfect but we know God has made this place as the path toward the best possible world.â€ She tugs her foot away and covers it again. â€œHeâ€™s not finished with any of us yet.â€
She turns her head toward the fading rainbows. â€œYou live in a perfect little dreamworld created to cover up every disaster. What happened when mom and dad died in the accident?â€ She stares hard at me, jaw clenched. â€œYou camped out in my hospital room, acting as if nothing was wrong. I was a freak and you never said one thing about my appearance.â€
â€œYouâ€™re my sister.â€ I reach for her hand but she recoils at my touch.
â€œIâ€™m the one who lost my temper and hit dad so that he swirled into that oncoming truck. I should have died, not them.â€
â€œThey were ready to go.â€
Her mouth fluctuates like a fishâ€™s before spitting out â€œWell, I wasnâ€™t ready to let them go.â€
I stand again with my hand curled around the mast. â€œGod has given us time to reflect on how much we need him now.â€ The rainbows are now only memories in the sky.
â€œReflection only brings out the pain.â€
â€œReflection also helps to remember the good things and to think about how to do things differently the next time. It helps us appreciate and learn from each other. Itâ€™s a mirror of life for our soul.â€
She spots the darting sparrows through tears trickling down her cheeks. â€œI may not ever understand this God of yours but somehow, if I ever get to believe he loves me, I know it will be because of you.â€
Warmth floods my gut to my face. It settles in my shoulders. â€œSomehow,â€ I say, â€œif you ever get to believe he loves you, even more than I love you, then perhaps youâ€™ll learn to forgive and love yourself.â€
â€œTake me home. More reflection will only make me regret this day.â€
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